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in; so his father came out and entreated him, and told him how natural it was for a father to rejoice over the return of a child whom he feared was lost to him for ever, and who was now come back, humble and repentant.

Such was the parable which our Saviour told the Pharisees, to explain the joy with which God welcomes the return of one of those penitent sinners whom they so wickedly despised. God is that Father ; - the prodigal son meant the penitent sinners whom Christ received, — and the elder son represented the proud Pharisees.

But it is not the Pharisees alone who may benefit by this beautiful parable. We, my dear children, have often wandered from God our Father in the

pursuit of pleasure ; but, depend upon it, there is no real happiness to be found at

a distance from God. You

may

think so at first, but you will be disappointed. The prodigal son thought, perhaps, that he should be very happy when he could do as he liked, and had no longer his father's eye to watch over him ; but he found nothing but famine, suffering, and sorrow.

Return, then, when you have had the misfortune to wander from him, return to the Father whose guidance you have left; He will receive you with open arms, welcome you as dear, long-lost children, and for Christ's sake forgive you

all

your past sins. Heaven is prepared for you, and Angels will rejoice over you.

“ There is joy in the presence of “ the Angels of God over one sinner “ that repenteth.”- Luke, xv. 10.

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134

XIX.

THE RICH MAN.

I will now tell you another of our Saviour's parables.

There was a certain man of the name of Dives, so called on account of his great riches, Dives being the Latin word for rich. He used to dress magnificently in purple cloth and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day : but he did not make a good use of his riches; for while he enjoyed all this abundance and luxury, he did not remember how many are poor and have not even the necessaries of life. Contented with possessing every comfort himself, he never thought of sharing it with others; and day after day he allowed an unfortunate beggar to lie at his gate, in the greatest misery, without giving him any relief. This poor beggar's name was Lazarus ; and he was so very poor that he would have been grateful even for the crums which fell from the rich man's table: and no living creature noticed him, but the dogs who would lick his sores.

But the prosperity of Dives and the misery of Lazarus were not for long. All things in this world are soon at an end. Death came to both, and then how changed was their condition! Lazarus, who, in the midst of his poverty, had served God, was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom (by which is meant a place of great happiness in Heaven), where he was comforted for all his sufferings on earth. But Dives, who had neglected God in his lifetime, found himself after death amidst all the horrors of Hell; and lifting up his eyes in torments, he saw Abraham at a great distance, and Lazarus resting in peace in his bosom.-Oh! what would he have now given to be able to change places with Lazarus ! but this he knew was impossible. He hoped, however, to have his agony a little lessened; and he said “ Father Abraham, have mercy “ on me, and send Lazarus that he may

dip the tip of his finger in water, and “ cool my tongue, for I am tormented c in this flame.” But Abraham told him to recollect the good things he had enjoyed on earth, which he had made such bad use of, while Lazarus had only received evil things in his life,

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